Ride's Mark Gardener on the Band's Reunion Tour | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Ride’s Mark Gardener on the Band’s Reunion Tour

Plus: Could this Reunion Mean New Music is on the Way?

Sep 16, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Late last year, shoegaze pioneers Ride announced that they were reuniting to play a few festivals and one-off shows across Europe and the United States. This came as a welcome surprise to many of their longtime fans, many of whom never thought they’d get a chance to see one of their favorite bands live, as the band had gone their separate ways almost two decades prior. (They even managed to keep their plans a secret from us when we spoke to guitarists Mark Gardener and Andy Bell about their Ride years in 2013.)  

This October, the Oxford band’s landmark debut record Nowhere celebrates its 25th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they’re setting out on their first extensive world tour since their split in the mid-1990s. (This includes the band’s first expansive slate of North American shows in 20 years, giving many younger American fans their very first chance to catch the band in person.)

We spoke to Mark Gardener about the details behind Ride’s reunion, their upcoming tour dates, and whether or not getting the band back together could mean that new music might be in the works. (Plus, stay tuned for our track-by-track discussion of their essential shoegaze record, Nowhere.)

Austin Trunick [Under the Radar]: When I last talked to you and Andy a few years back, it sounded as if a reunion might never happen, even though you were both open to the idea. Were you just being coy with me?

Mark Gardener:  I was being a bit coy with you. [Laughs] I’d been talking to the guys. We’d met up a lot and seen a lot of each other through the years. It wasn’t like we hadn’t seen anything of each other—we’d always been meeting up a lot through those times. About three or four years ago, we had a Christmas dinner or sometime close to that.  I remember saying to the guys, “I get asked this question all the fucking time and it’s driving me mad, because the people they really need to ask are you guys!” [Laughs] Everyone around the table then went, “We’d like to do it.” But, obviously, at the time Andy knew that he was in for another album with Beady Eye, [Laurence Colbert] I think was still playing with the Mary Chain, and I was getting a lot of production work. But that was when it was first like, “This will happen.” It was just a matter of when, that kind of thing. We’d made the decision that we’d wanted it to happen, but of course we kept it kind of coy. We tried to keep it the world’s best secret—or worst secret—or whatever, until last November, when Primavera hung up the big banner in Barcelona.

How long did you guys rehearse before that show at Primavera?

A lot. More than we ever did back in the day! [Laughs] Actually, that was going to be the first show, then Coachella, and then a couple shows in America. As soon as Coachella knew we were going to do Primavera, they kind of jumped to get us to also do it there. So that really moved things forward. But yeah, up until that point we did a lot of rehearsals.

Was there much dust that needed to be shaken off?

There was a lot of dust, yeah … I mean, we’d gotten used to playing things a certain way back in the day that wasn’t so accurate, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But we did go back and listen to the records and made it more accurate, I guess. We just wanted it to be better; everything to be better. So that was part of the process, making sure we were fully aware of the records. We also have better equipment, better everything.

You played only a few select shows while you were in the States. This will be your first extensive tour in the U.S. in decades. Are there any places you’re looking forward to returning to, or perhaps playing for the first time?

Looking back, being in America sort of felt like a lot of the books you’d read—the obvious ones, like Kerouac, and stuff like that—that would fill your imagination with these sort of wild, rampant dreams. You had no idea that you might visit America one day, let alone actually tour around with a band. It was kind of the realization of a lot of those dreams. So, yes, I’ve really missed America, and playing America. There’s just something proper in my mind about being in Ride and playing around America. It just really works. I think any band that can do that, they come back to England—or wherever they go back to—and they’re a better band for it. I know Ride certainly was.

We also wrote some songs—like “Leave Them All Behind”—on tour buses as we were cruising around America and feeling that vibe, or whatever. So, there’s not really like one particular city that we’d like to return to. I think we all kind of agreed that the idea of being on a tour bus riding around America, playing Ride stuff again as Ride—that was exciting to us. So we’re looking forward to the whole tour, really.  

I have to ask: now that you’re together again and playing the old songs, do you get any sense that you might like to record new music together one day?

Of course. I think we get that sense completely. But, for now we’re really anti-making plans to do it. We’re not looking too far ahead. For now, we’re just loving these shows and festivals, and we’re totally absorbed by that. There’s a big back catalogue to go through. Everyone’s been calling for a [reunion tour] and right now we’re just happy giving people what they want for now. But once we’ve done that—and by December, I think we’ll be clear—we’ll see where we’re at. So, we’re not making any plans yet, but of course there is a sense that it could be a good thing to do. And, who knows, really? [Laughs] Bands are weird things, really. As soon as you say you’re going to do something, then it’s never going to happen.

Well, I don’t want to be the one to jinx it!

[Laughs]

***

For more information about Ride and upcoming tour dates, check out their website.



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